Like adults, children can be from a very early age under a lot of stress, subject to performance, bombarded with many solicitations and other kinds of excessive stimuli, which are all part and parcel of our modern way of life. They are constantly asked to concentrate, however rare are the moments or opportunities where they are taught how to focus their attention. Mindfulness, or training to focus attention, will allow children to pay attention in a conscious manner, in the present moment, without judgment, with open-mindedness and care. Thus, they will learn to take a break amidst the daily agitation, to take a deep breath and pay attention to what is happening in their inner world and also in the outside world. They are then able to calm down, to centre themselves, to have a more precise idea of their needs, to react in a less impulsive manner and to improve their concentration.
All children can participate in this programme which aims to teach them how to develop their attention, regulate stress, get them familiar with their body, their emotional and mental world or simply find (again) calmness in themselves. This programme is particularly recommended for those who are under a lot of stress, who face anxiety, attention problems, sleep difficulties and a lack of self-confidence.
Sophrosan uses the simple, playful and efficient method « Mindfulness matters! » (AMT)
developed by Eline Snel, a Dutch therapist, founder of the Academy for Mindful Teaching (AMT) and the author of the best sellers « Sitting still like a Frog » and « Breathe through this ». In order to develop this method, she took inspiration from the MBSR programme (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programme) created for adults by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a doctor and researcher. Please note that this programme is scientifically approved.
Scientific studies as well as feedbacks from children, parents and teachers show the many positive impacts of the method:
- Improved concentration and academic performance
- Reduced stress and anxiety : improved ability to distance oneself in difficult situations
- Increased ability to be present in the here and now : reduced mental dispersion
- Improved ability to let go of both body and mind
- Improved quality of sleep and even falling asleep
- Improved knowledge of the body and its limits
- Improved knowledge of awareness of thoughts and the influence one can exert on one’s thoughts
- Improved knowledge of emotions such as anger, fear, sadness and learning how to welcome, accept and explore them
- Enhanced self-confidence thanks to an open mind and an absence of judgment
- Increased care towards oneself and others, and an improved quality of relationships with others (family, classmates)
« Mindfulness matters » offers programmes that are adapted to 4 age groups : 4-7 years’ old, 8-11 years’old, 12-14 years’old, 15 years’old and more.
At the end of each session, an email is sent to parents with a short recap of the topic covered and some suggestions of quick and simple exercises for the child to rehearse, 5 to 10 minutes daily (either alone or with their parents). Whenever the child feels stressed, nervous or can’t fall asleep, he has at his disposal several easy exercises that he can rehearse by themselves. It is important that at least one of the parents is involved to accompany and support the child in their practice. In order to optimise the rehearsals at home and hence improve results, it is highly recommended to read the book «Sitting still like a Frog » along with the cd containing the exercises.
A first meeting with the parents is planned prior to the group sessions in order to present them with the programme. A second meeting is planned at the end of the programme to debrief and suggest options to support the child to continue practicing at home.
The weekly sessions are organised for groups of a minimum of 3 children, with a maximum of 8, and will take place over a period of 8 to 10 weeks based on / depending upon the age group of the children. Sessions last from 45 minutes to an hour, once again depending on the age group of the participants and their ability to concentrate. Each session is composed of a practical exercise to focus attention on breathing, thoughts, emotions or body awareness, along with movements, tales and discussions around the topic of the session.
For each session, a different topic is chosen, always with the frog, sitting still as a connecting thread.
- 1st session : Observe and concentrate
- 2nd session : Listen to your body
- 3rd session : Senses : taste, smell, hearing, sight and touching
- 4th session : Patience, confidence and letting go
- 5 th session : Detect, recognise and accept emotions
- 6 th session: Get familiar with the flow of thoughts and learn how to influence your thoughts
- 7 th session: Be kind, it’s pleasant!
- 8 th session: The secret of happiness
As the programme is structured and progressive, it is essential that children attend each of the initially planned sessions.
Programme of 8 sessions of 45 minutes for the 5-7 years’ old : 350 euros (21% VAT included)
Programme of 8 sessions of 1 hour for the 8-11 years’ old : 350 euros (21% VAT included)
Programme of 10 sessions of 1 hour for the 12-18 year’s old: 430 euros (21% VAT included)
These restricted groups (8 children maximum) allow a personalised follow-up with the child and the parents and a longer time for exchanging views during sessions. These tariffs include the 8 sessions, the two meetings and a recap after each session sent by email with suggested exercises to be rehearsed at home.
An individual follow-up is possible for children who do not wish to participate in a group programme but who would like a personalised support programme based on mindfulness.